The Journals of Lewis & Clark: April 2, 1806
April 2, 1806
Wednesday April 2ed 1806. This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment or some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dryed meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. to exchange our perogues for canoes with the natives on our way to the great falls of the columbia or purchase such canoes from them for Elkskins and Merchandize as would answer our purposes. these canoes we intend exchanging with the natives of the plains for horses as we proceed untill we obtain as many as will enable us to travel altogether by land. at some convenient point, perhaps at the entrence of the S. E. branch of the Columbia, we purpose sending a party of four or five men a head to collect our horses that they may be in readiness for us by our arrival at the Chopunnish; calculating by thus acquiring a large stock of horses we shall not only sucure the means of transporting our baggage over the mountains but that we will also have provided the means of subsisting; for we now view the horses as our only certain resource for food, nor do we look forward to it with any detestation or borrow, so soon is the mind which is occupyed with any interesting object reconciled to it's situation. The men who were sent in quest of the Elk and deer that were killed yesterday returned at 8 A.M. this morning. we now enformed the party of our intention of laying in a store of meat at this place, and immediately dispatched two parteis consisting of nine men to the opposite side of the river. five of those we sent below the Quicksand river and 4 above. we also sent out three others on this side, and those who remained in camp were employed in collecting wood making a scaffoald and cuting up the meat in order to dry it. about this time several canoes of the natives arrived at our camp and among others one from below which had on board eight men of the Shah-ha-la nation these men informed us that 2 young men whom they pointed out were Cash-hooks and resided at the falls of a large river which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South side some miles below us. we readily prevailed on them to give us a sketch of this river which they drew on a mat with a coal. it appeared that this river which they called Mult-no-mah discharged itself behind the Island which we called the image canoe Island and as we had left this island to the S. both in ascending and decending the river we had never seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and run a considerable distance to the South between the mountains. Capt. Clark determined to return and examine this river accordingly he took a party of seven men and one of the perogues and set out 1/2 after 11 A.M., he hired one of the Cashhooks, for a birning glass, to pilot him to the entrance of the Multnomah river and took him on board with him. in their manners dress language and stature these people are the same with the quathlahpohtle nation and others residing in the neighbourhood of wappetoe Island. near the entrance of multnomah river a considerable nation resides on the lower side of that stream by the same name. as many as ten canoes with natives arrived at our camp in the course of the day; most of them were families of men women and children decencing the river. they all gave the same account of the scarcity of provision above. I shot my air gun, with which they were much astonished. one family consisting of ten or twelve persons remained near us all night. they conducted themselves in a very orderly manner. the three hunters on this side of the river returned in the evening they had killed two deer, tho they were so poor and at such a distance from camp that they brought in their skins only. the night and morning being cloudy I was again disappointed in making the observations I wished.
Fir is the common growth of the uplands, as is the cottonwood, ash; large leafed ash and sweet willow that of the bottom lands. the huckleburry, shallon, and the several evergreen shrubs of that speceis which bear burries have seased to appear except that speceis which has the leaf with a prickly margin. among the plants of this prarie in which we are encamped I observe the passhequo, Shannetahque, and compound firn the roots of which the natives eat; also the water cress, strawburry, flowering pea not yet in blume, the sinquefoil, narrow dock, sand rush which are luxuriant and abundant in the river bottoms; a speceis of the bearsclaw of which I preserved a specemine it is in blume. the large leafed thorn has also disappeared. the red flowering currant is found here in considerable quantities on the uplands. the hunters inform me that there are extensive praries on the highlands a few miles back from the river on this side. the land is very fertile.
Wednesday April 2nd 1806
This morning we came to a resolution to remain at our present encampment or Some where in this neighbourhood untill we had obtained as much dried meat as would be necessary for our voyage as far as the Chopunnish. to exchange our large Canoes for Small ones with the nativs on our way to the great Falls of the Columbia or purchase Such canoes from them for Elk skins and Merchindize as would answer our purposes. these canoes we intend exchangeing with the nativs of the Plains for horses as we proceed untill we obtain as maney as will enable us to travel altogether by land. at Some convenient point, perhaps at the enterance of Lewis's River we intend Sending a party of 4 or 5 men ahead to Collect our horses that they may be in readiness for us by our arrival at the Chopunnish; Calculating by thus acquireing a large Stock of horses we shall not only Secure the means of transporting our baggage over the Mountains, but that we also have provided the means of Subsisting; for we now view the horses as our only Certain resource for food, nor do we look foward to it with any detestation or horrow, So Soon is the Mind which is occupied with any interesting object, reconsiled to it's Situation. The men who went in quest of the Elk and Deer which were killed yesterday returned at 8 A.M. this morning. we now informed the party of our intention of laying in a Store of meat at this place, and imediately dispatched two parties Consisting of nine men to the opposit Side of the river. 5 of them below and 4 above quick Sand River. we also Sent out 3 others on this Side, and those who remained in Camp were employd in Collecting wood makeing a Scaffold and Cutting up the meat in order to dry it. about this time Several Canoes of the nativs arived at our Camp among others two from below with Eight men of the Shah-ha-la Nation those men informed us that they reside on the opposit Side of the Columbia near Some pine trees which they pointed to in the bottom South of the Dimond Island, they Singled out two young men whome they informed us lived at the Falls of a large river which discharges itself into the Columbia on it's South Side Some Miles below us. we readily provailed on them to give us a Sketch of this river which they drew on a Mat with a coal, it appeared that this river which they Call Mult-no'-mah discharged itself behind the Island we call the image Canoe island, and as we had left this Island to the South both in decending & assending the river we had never Seen it. they informed us that it was a large river and runs a Considerable distance to the South between the Mountains. I deturmined to take a Small party and return to this river and examine its Size and Collect as much information of the nativs on it or near its enterance into the Columbia of its extent, the Country which it waters and the nativs who inhabit its banks &c. I took with me Six Men. Thompson J. Potts, Peter Crusat, P. Wiser, T. P. Howard, Jos. Whitehouse & my man York in a large Canoe, with an Indian whome I hired for a Sun glass to accompany me as a pilot. at half past 11 A.M. I Set out, and had not proceeded far eer I saw 4 large Canoes at Some distance above decending and bending their Course towards our Camp which at this time is very weak Capt. Lewis haveing only 10 men with him. I hisitated for a moment whether it would not be advisable for me to return and delay untill a part of our hunters Should return to add more Strength to our Camp. but on a Second reflection and reverting to the precautions always taken by my friend Capt Lewis on those occasions banished all apprehensions and I proceeded on down. at 8 miles passed a village on the South side at this place my Pilot informed me he resided and that the name of his tribe is Ne-cha-co-lee, this village is back or to the South of Dimond island, and as we passed on the North Side of the island both decending & assending did not See or know of this Village. I proceeded on without landing at this village. at 3 P.M. I landed at a large double house of the Ne-er-choki-oo tribe of the Shah-ha-la Nation. at this place we had Seen 24 aditional Straw Huts as we passed down last fall and whome as I have before mentioned reside at the Great rapids of the Columbia. on the bank at different places I observed Small Canoes which the women make use of to gather Wappato & roots in the Slashes. those Canoes are from 10 to 14 feet long and from 18 to 23 inches wide in the widest part tapering from the center to both ends in this form and about 9 inches deep and So light that a woman may with one hand haul them with ease, and they are Sufficient to Carry a woman an Some loading. I think 100 of those canoes were piled up and Scattered in different directions about in the Woods in the vecinity of this house, the pilot informed me that those Canoes were the property of the inhabitents of the Grand rapids who used them ocasionally to gather roots. I entered one of the rooms of this house and offered Several articles to the nativs in exchange for Wappato. they were Sulkey and they positively refused to Sell any. I had a Small pece of port fire match in my pocket, off of which I cut a pece one inch in length & put it into the fire and took out my pocket Compas and Set myself doun on a mat on one Side of the fire, and a magnet which was in the top of my ink Stand the port fire cought and burned vehemently, which changed the Colour of the fire; with the Magnit I turned the Needle of the Compas about very briskly; which astonished and alarmed these nativs and they laid Several parsles of Wappato at my feet, & begged of me to take out the bad fire; to this I consented; at this moment the match being exhausted was of course extinguished and I put up the magnet &c. this measure alarmed them So much that the womin and children took Shelter in their beads and behind the men, all this time a very old blind man was Speaking with great vehemunce, appearently imploreing his gode. I lit my pipe and gave them Smoke & gave the womin the full amount of the roots which they had put at my feet. they appeared Somewhat passified and I left them and proceeded on on the South Side of Image Canoe Island which I found to be two Islands hid from the opposit Side by one near the Center of the river. the lower point of the upper and the upper point of the lower cannot be Seen from the North Side of the Columbia on which we had passed both decending and ascending and had not observed the apperture between those islands. at the distance of 13 Miles below the last village and at the place I had Supposed was the lower point of the image Canoe island, I entered this river which the nativs had informed us of, Called Mult no mah River so called by the nativs from a Nation who reside on Wappato Island a little below the enterance of this river. Multnomah discharges itself in the Columbia on the S. E. and may be justly Said to be 1/4 the Size of that noble river. Multnomah had fallen 18 inches from it's greatest annual height. three Small Islands are situated in it's mouth which hides the river from view from the Columbia from the enterance of this river, I can plainly See Mt. Jefferson which is high and Covered with snow S. E. Mt. Hood East, Mt St. Helians a high humped Mountain to the East of Mt St. Helians. I also Saw the Mt. Raneer Nearly North. Soon after I arived at this river an old man passed down of the Clark a'mos Nation who are noumerous and reside on a branch of this river which receives it's waters from Mt.,Jefferson which is emensely high and discharges itself into this river one day and a half up, this distance I State at 40 Miles. This nation inhabits 11 Villages their Dress and language is very Similar to the Quath-lah-poh-tle and other tribes on Wappato Island.
The Current of the Multnomar is as jentle as that of the Columbia glides Smoothly with an eavin surface, and appears to be Sufficiently deep for the largest Ship. I attempted fathom it with a Cord of 5 fathom which was the only Cord I had, could not find bottom 1/3 of the distance across. I proceeded up this river 10 miles from it's enterance into the Columbia to a large house on the N E. Side and Encamped near the house, the flees being So noumerous in the house that we could not Sleep in it. this is the house of the Cush-hooks Nation who reside at the falls of this river which the pilot informs me they make use of when they Come down to the Vally to gather Wappato. he also informs me that a number of other Smaller houses are Situated on two Bayous which make out on the S. E. Side a little below the house. this house appears to have been laterly abandoned by its inhabitants in which they had left Sundery articles Such as Small Canoes mats, bladdles of Oil and baskits bowls & trenchers. and as my pilot informed me was gorn up this to the falls to fish which is 2 days or 60 miles up. this house is 30 feet wide & presisely 40 feet long. built in the usial form of broad boads Covered with bark.
The course and distance assending the Molt no mar R from it's enterance into the Columbia at the lower point of the 3rd Image Canoe island. viz.
S. 30°W. 2 Miles to the upper point of a Small island in the Middle of Moltnomar river. thence
S. 10° W. 3 miles to a Sluce 80 yards wide which devides Wappato Island from the Main Stard. Side Shore passing a Willow point on the Lard. Side.
S. 60° E. 3 miles to a large Indian house on the Lard Side below Some high pine land. high bold Shore on the Starboard Side. thence
S. 30° E 2 miles to a bend under the high lands on the Stard Side
miles 10 passing a Larborad point.
thence the river bends to the East of S East as far as I could See. at this place I think the wedth of the river may be Stated at 500 yards and Sufficiently deep for a Man of War or Ship of any burthen.